Blogger and developer Scott Hanselman, a Microsoft U.S. senior program manager working out of his home office in Portland, shared some tips on how to make blogs more successful at the Tech Ed conference last week. In his presentation "How to make your blog suck less," Hanselman listed some obvious and less obvious tips for bloggers.
Firstly, stay relevant and know your audience, he told the crowd. If your blog is a tech blog, stick to the topic. He recommends checking statistics on a regular basis, to keep track of where visitors come from, how they got there and what operating systems they are sitting on.
Hanselman also recommends keeping overtly personal information out of your tech blog. "I don't care if you didn't feel like blogging about C# today because you were feeling a bit blue," he said.
Also, don't apologize about not blogging enough, he said. "People apologizing about blogging shouldn't be blogging," he said. Posts saying "I'm back" should be banned, according to Hanselman, as well as post saying "this blog has moved". "I don't care. Just move the blog!" he said.
Don't blog bile, Hanselman said. "There are assholes on the net but I'm not interested in what you think about them," he said. "What you are doing is giving anger a permalink."
Other things listed on Hanselman's "don't do" list include avoiding excessive quoting and "re-blogging." And don't blog to get rich -- you are likely to earn less then $5 a month from Google ads, he said.
On the "things to do" list, Hanselman strongly recommended using spell check and paying attention to formatting.
In addition, comments should be turned on, he said. Some bloggers turn comments off due to blog spam concerns, but there are ways of solving this, for example using validation such as CAPTCHA.
Other tips include deciding what your blog's URL is and to use it consistently, rather than having many URLs leading to the same place.
He also told the audience to have contact information available somewhere on the blog, as well as an "About me-page."
But perhaps most importantly, if you want your blog to "suck less," make it easy to subscribe to it, for example by using feedicons, he said. And make it easy to read, taking mobile devices into consideration. It is unreasonable to include ads in the mobile version of your blog, he said.
Prior to joining Microsoft, Hanselman was the chief architect at Corillian Corporation, now a part of Checkfree, for over six years.